Facebook swears its business is going to slow down soon—today is not that day

Trust him.
Trust him.
Image: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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Facebook has been warning that a slowdown is coming for its business in the near future. And that’s sure to happen someday. Just not today.

The social media giant announced its second-quarter earnings today, and they were as rosy as ever. It beat analyst expectations by generating $9.32 billion in revenue, up about 45% from the same quarter a year earlier. Facebook’s net income for the quarter was $3.89 billion—up a massive 71% from a year earlier.

The company had its best quarter ever in terms of revenue, which CEO Mark Zuckerberg called “a good second quarter and first half of the year,” in a release. 

The company continues to invest for the present and the future. It now has over 20,000 people on staff and spent nearly $2 billion on research and development this past quarter, up 30% from a year earlier.

But it seems the winter that the company is warning of may not be that far away:

Facebook’s growth has slowed significantly over the last year, and unless the company is able to generate more money from an increasingly stagnant user base, it’s likely that growth will fall further.

Facebook announced earlier in the summer that it had passed the 2 billion mark for the number of users who visit the site or its mobile app at least once a month. In today’s release, the company said it now has 2.01 billion monthly active users—a modest increase over its last public figure.

But much like revenue—over 98% of which comes from selling ads—quarterly new user growth has fallen sharply since its heights in 2011. That being said, its users are still highly engaged: Facebook said in its release that two-thirds of users visit Facebook every day.

North America is still Facebook’s most valuable region by far—the average revenue per user there is $19.38, far higher than any other geography—but Facebook and its investors will be encouraged by the fact that average revenue is up in every region by at least 30% over the same period a year earlier.

All in all, it was a well received report.

Still, most signs point toward Facebook being unable to keep up the pace of revenue growth it’s set over the last few years.

Whether it can figure out how to further monetize its other products, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus, or figure out how to bring the internet and Facebook to the rest of the world remains to be seen.